Sunday, 29 July 2012

Is that the sun???

My goodness the sun was / is in the sky -  well maybe for at least a few hours more! Our Chef James and this fish ( a Monkfish caught off Hope Cove and on the menu not long after this pic!) certainly seemed to be smiling at seeing the sun and at last - the visitors!

Finally, it's been a hugely busy week, although it has to be said, its STILL not as busy as it could be.  Will it end up being enough to help keep us all afloat during yet another long hard winter?? Who knows really........ Work seems to be progressing well on the Harbour Hotel and the bill board outside the place says open Summer 2013, you can also see that the swimming pool has gone, scaffold abounds and generally it looks like a building site. So 2013?? Well we have to wait and see!

There are times I realise what work a HR department used to do when I worked for Local Government  - all the hiring, firing and general sorting out. This week I could have done with their guiding gentle hand as staff came, some went and then new ones needed MY gentle hand as they encountered a brand new job. I realise I took some of the stuff in my old life, soooooooooo much for granted! Just getting up, going in, doing my work and receiving my salary. This week I've had to sort out so much in general terms of having staff work for me, that it seems to have taken up all my working day's - as well as trying to work on the bar and meet customers and be sure we're doing what we should to continue making us a success.

Talking of customers we've had some fabulous people in this week and you realise what a privilege it is to help people have a great holiday - you see just a snapshot of their lives - the young couples so much in love, the family with a little baby on their first family holiday, the older couples who come to Salcombe every year of their lives together and love to tell you about the old days and how things have changed. The families who never spend much time together and suddenly are thrust together for 24 hrs a day - now that can be interesting to watch!!!

I've been doing my usual bits with the children (which I ADORE!!) of getting them to feed the chickens and then taking up lollipops and badges for them! We received a great e mail though:

Just a quick note to say thank you for a delicious lunch on Sunday.  We had canoed over from North Sands for lunch and were so pleased to find such a child friendly pub! The icing on the cake was meeting you in the loos after one of our small people had had a tumble... one lollipop later and there were smiles all round! We will gladly tell our friends about you! Thank you L and B

After that, life and all its day to day trivia this week didn't seem quite so bad!! Enjoy the Olympics readers.......................... X

Monday, 16 July 2012

So you are there!

Ok, ok, ok - I admit it! I was thoroughly depressed and downright bloody miserable when I wrote the last blog post............... 'Should I stay or should I go'! I blame the jet stream and lack of sun, lack of alcohol and most absolutely lack of chocolate (ok - last excuse is an absolute and total lie!) and a few hundred other reasons.

I have been heartened by loads of comments both personally, through the blog and facebook. I've of course had a couple of crank comments - the one from Frank Smith 'Smee' is most definitely NOT from him and he wasn't best pleased at his name being used! Bless him - I don't think he'd even know how to switch on a computer............I know he won't mind me saying that 'cos he's a lovely bloke who I'm very fond of! Plus he gets hunks of Cheese and pickled onions to go with his beer on a Friday! Then there was the miserable sod who wondered if by allowing dogs in the pub I was perhaps putting off people coming in?? Um - No is the answer! Sooner have a dozen dogs in the Vic (in the areas they're allowed of course) than one miserable git like 00Kevin - But, he is of course entitled to his opinion. And, he doesn't have to come in to the Vic does he.........?

Much more valid were the comments I received reminding me how much they liked the blog and especially keeping up with events in Salcombe - so just for you is a lovely picture of the Estuary............ I was also advised to perhaps to talk a little bit more about the real challenges of being a landlady. So how about this:

Right now there can't be a business in the land that isn't having a tough time (except for the automobile business and I helped it ever so slightly last week, but more about that another time) and we are no exception! There is no denying that business at the Victoria Inn is quite difficult at the moment. The weather has played havoc with the industry that we so rely on - tourism!! The local TV station was quoting 25% deficits on the expected norm for this time of year in the West Country and I can well believe it.

Salcombe has no Hotel at the top of its main high street (being re-furbished and due open NEXT summer), so we (and the other business's in town) are missing that extra 60 - 120+ people in town on any given day and the spend they would make. Getting the staffing levels right is nigh on impossible - we're either over staffed or under staffed - and we're either heaving with customers, and rushed off our feet or staff are twiddling their thumbs (time to lean, time to clean is a phrase well quoted at the moment!) waiting for the next customer. The yachtsmen are not here in the droves that they should be, because of bad weather conditions, as are many customers from where there has been such dreadful flooding.

The drop in volumes of soft drinks and the amounts of water going over the counter for children clearly identifies that families are working to tight budgets - as is the drop in bottles of Champagne being sold! However, St Austells great ales, our medium priced wines and our high quality of food is ensuring sales remain stable in that part of our business. Another part of our business holding its own is the accommodation interestingly enough......... a couple of weather led cancellations but nothing to worry about. On that note - a quick mention that we're doing a special deal of £50 a room in Oct, Nov & some of Dec!!!

Where was I?? Oh yes - so what are SOH and I doing about all this doom and gloom (apart from ensuring a good supply of headache pills!)?  Well, firstly - we need to make sure variable costs are kept to a minimum - and that's where Tim is a an absolute whizz in negotiating great deals with suppliers. Staff have had a bit of refresher re-training to emphasise the even greater importance of customer service and we're looking at what times we're offering food and if we can move them/extend them as well as what we're offering.............phew!! All we need now is just a little help from our friend the weather!

Come on sun - you know you want to come out to play really...................

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Should I stay or should I go??

Should I stay or should I go?? That's a well know song title but from whom or by whom I know not! I'm just seriously debating the worth of this blog..................???

I seem to spend an increasing amount of time on 'Social Media', not just for me personally but much more for the business side of things.  By that I mean I write this blog, I 'Twitter' and I also 'do' Facebook. Now I get lots of instant reactions to the Twitter and I've made lots of business contacts and customers, whereas Facebook is more for friends only............ my blog gets anywhere from 20 'hits' a day when I haven't written anything to 60 plus when I write a post. It's all getting increasingly time consuming and frankly, its reaching the point where I don't have the time for all of this.

I started the blog because I thought that when we came to Salcombe nearly four years ago we were probably never going to see civilisation again! I felt sure there wouldn't be adequate forms of communication and that probably I'd have to learn smoke signals!! It was as much a way of keeping in touch with family and friends as anything, and then it developed into a marvellous marketing tool - since copied by many.

I've covered most topics in the blog, there have been many times it's been deeply personal (perhaps too much so - I've pretty much worn my heart on my sleeve), some times I've been controversial and far too many times I've tried to be all things to all people. There is a limit to how many times I can tell you how good we're doing or how poor (right now let me tell you - it's tough! The weather, the recession, etc, etc, etc) what beers we've got on and what food we're serving.

It's been suggested I turn it more into a 'New' Salcombe Blog, with news/views and gossip about Salcombe (but Old Salcombe blogger with all your contentious issues....... where have you gone?).

Has my blog become like an old friendship that's died a death and I can't let go or am I just seeking divine inspiration? Am I just feeling miserable because of the rotten weather or have I lost my mojo - never to return???

It feels stale and almost feels like time to say ta rah chuck...................

What say you?????  If you say at all?????

Salcombe capture by Sarah from 'The Dark Side - East Portlemouth!